The Maitland Art Center at the Art & History Museums of Maitland was created in 1937 as a winter artist’s retreat. The labyrinthine compound was designed in an obscure Art Deco architectural style known as Mayan Revival. The winding pathways, hidden courtyards, and high walls are all richly adorned with thousands of hand-carved concrete sculptures, ranging from serene saints to defiant warrior goddesses.
The complex is the dream vision of artist and architect Jules André Smith, a reclusive creative who built the center in 1937 as a place where artists could dedicate themselves to experimental art forms. The studio operated until Smith passed away onsite in 1959. Today, artists still work in the historical studios.
Visitors to the site can explore the grounds and visit the Maitland Art Center Gallery, which often has Smith’s artwork on display. If art isn’t your thing, the Telephone Museum is right next door, where visitors can play with antique switchboards and vintage rotary phones.
Located in the heart of central Florida, the Art & History Museums of Maitland is a great stop for visitors who want to get to know the other side of Florida.
Know Before You Go
Visitors can check the website for hours of operation: www.artandhistory.org. Don't be intimidated by the walls and gates when you visit, the site was designed to keep visitors out, but guests are welcome to explore the grounds and gardens during operating hours.